Simon Hemelryk of Go London writes:

KISS bassist, [Gene Simmons] is turning 70 in August and his band’s current tour, which arrives at the O2 on July 11th, will be its last.

“It’s time,” he says. “This tour will take three years and I’ll be 72 when it finishes. That’s a good point to get off the stage…I’m up there every night in 8in platform boots and 40lbs of armour. I did five-mile walks almost every day for a year to get in shape…”

…KISS…have had a turbulent past, with founding guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss famously leaving the band three times under a cloud of drugs, alcohol and recriminations. There was vague talk of them rejoining for this one last tour. But though Simmons still talks reasonably warmly of them — despite Frehley’s recent Facebook outburst where he accused Simmons of groping his wife — that won’t be happening.

“They were as important as any one of us in the early days of the band and they’ve both been invited to come on stage at some point in the tour. But we couldn’t do the whole thing with them. They’re completely undependable.”

Instead, Simmons and Stanley are performing with the altogether more reliable Eric Singer and Tommy Sayer. “Eric’s played with everybody: Brian May, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, you name it. He and Tommy have a love of labor. They show up on time, do the work and are thrilled to meet the fans. Other members, without naming names, have been miserable.”

Simmons had a poor early childhood in Israel before moving to the US, and his mother, Flora, survived a Nazi concentration camp. She drummed into him how precious life is. So while he’s had plenty of encounters with groupies, a relationship with Diana Ross and is now married to former Playboy Playmate of the Year, Shannon Tweed, he’s been otherwise abstemious. 

“The truth is that no one in the band even smokes cigarettes,” he says. “Nobody drinks either. They’re just not interested. I’ve never been drunk in my life. The drug thing isn’t a discussion.”

So how does he unwind after an adrenaline-fuelled epic gig in front of 20,000 people? “I like cake. I really do. On days off, I binge-watch Game of Thrones…” 

…Will he miss donning the armour and make up to become the Demon? “I don’t know,” he reflects. “On the day that Superman decides to stop guarding the earth, he’s still Superman underneath, but will he miss that outfit? I don’t know.”

Read more at Go London.

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  • Larry Jackson on

    Smh… Gene.., Gene.., Gene!!! Listen bruh.., Ace did EVERYTHING you asked him too? You asked Ace if you could write TWO songs on his current CD AND…, also use YOUR back-up band, in place of his??? Plus, Ace is singing and playing at his concerts and proving he can hang with you guys? Ace also has made MORE current music (6 studio, 2 live albums and 2 albums of remakes) than your two minions and that concert track singing mother-f’er!!! Honestly speaking, It’s obvious that you’re acting jealous because Ace is doing everything you asked him too, but your brother Paul is crying that if he comes back into the fold, he’ll outshine EVERYONE on stage! For those who want to continue paying outrageous ticket prices, to see mediocre talent.., be my guest and support that? If KISS is supposed to be the BEST brand out there.., then the BEST is actually playing solo with your back up band. JUST STOP ALREADY, save your breath and bring Ace back!!!

    P.S. What Gene and Paul doesn’t want “you” fans to know is that ACE FREHLEY is the most popular and cashed in brand that represents everything KISS! Ace’s solo record IS 4th all-time, in group record catalouge sales and again.., it will only proves who the real talent is in the group.

  • elliot goldberg on

    “why pay the ikons when you can get the kinkos for free?”

    • Dana on


  • Charles Clinchot on

    Please just go back to your upteenth farewell tour, and play the same old sorry set list, from pasts decades. At the very least, the band could add something that hasn’t been played in a long time, like something from the 80s. The current band is unreliable, and I hate to say this, but if I had keep hearing the same stuff every concert, I would be sick of it, after the third go around.

  • genesraccoonwig on

    Same old same old.

    I agree with Gene that Eric and Tommy are more dependable than Ace and Peter but no need to bash Ace and Peter, especially Peter who survived cancer and is retired.
    But for me, Tommy is as exciting as a colonoscopy and Eric, while a terrific drummer, plays the classic material with a different feel that to me takes away from the song.

    Too bad Paul and Gene could not figure out a way to include Ace, Peter and Bruce into a number of farewell shows. Maybe it will happen, but not holding my breath.
    Gene and Paul’s prima donna ego driven attitude aside, the pre-recorded tracks and crappy setlist – its not worth it for me, reunion or not.

    I will be glad when this crap is all over – I have the music to listen to.

  • D.J.H on

    Anything to stay in the limelight….. IT’S OVER!!! IT’S BEEN OVER FOR YEARS!!!

    What’s that line they run about “Staying at the party too long?” HELLO??!!! WAKE UP GUYS – THAT COMMENT IS YOU!!

    Talk about single handedly destroying everything that you’ve created for the sake of an extra Dollar, Pound, Euro or Yen (or any other financial currency you wish to name). I use to really like KISS and when I saw them at Wembley Arena (Thursday 25th March 1999 – 8.30pm start) it was and remained for many years the single best concert I ever saw.

    However, that was then and this is now….

    I wouldn’t even accept a free ticket to see this, as we say in England, “Shower of Sh**”! You don’t need anymore money – you’ve got more than most of us will ever have in several lifetimes let only one, you’ve also got other business interests, most notably the Rock ‘n’ Brews chain of restaurants. For fu** sake go home – GO HOME and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

    What was that other promo line they used to use: “Accept no substitutes”? Well the band now has and uses substitutes (Tommy and Eric / backing tapes), and I for one don’t accept it.

    To paraphrase something I heard over 20 years ago: “You are a household name, but so is garbage; and it stinks when it gets old too.”

    (Sorry for the use of the curse words – it’s not something I would normally do on this website but sometimes things just have to be said.)

    • Dana on

      That’s fine you censored it. Plus,sometimes nothing can express an emotion like a good ole expletive.

      D 🙂

    • Doug R. on

      F–king A! 😉

    • genesraccoonwig on

      Ain’t that the @$&*# truth Dana

    • Dana on

      LOL!! 🙂

    • D.J.H on

      Thank you Dana. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I was wondering what Eddie thought about my comment? Any ideas? 🙂

    • Dana on

      He is so crazy busy, I don’t think he has much time to read, and respond, to comments, anymore. But, I will ask him to visit this story.

      D 🙂

    • Dana on

      I don’t think he would be offended, all opinions are welcome. He also said he gave his thoughts on this story, on Twitter.

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